The Ultimate Guide to Property Management Systems

HTR Buyers Guide

WebRezPro is the proud sponsor of Hotel Tech Report’s 2021 edition of the Property Management System Buyer’s Guide, which is designed to help hoteliers find the best PMS solution for their business.

There are many things to consider when shopping for a property management system and many software solutions to choose from, which can make selecting a PMS a daunting task! Read on for some tips on what to look for in a property management system today, and check out Hotel Tech Report’s free PMS Buyer’s Guide for further guidance and helpful tools to help you find the perfect fit for your property.

Purpose of a Property Management System

A property management system enables lodging operators to efficiently manage all aspects of their business from a central system—including inventory, rates and reservations, housekeeping and reporting.

Connecting all hotel departments, today’s PMS optimizes data to automate administrative tasks, provide a clear view of business, and improve the guest experience.

Property management systems are designed to:

  • Improve workflow through data integration and automation.
  • Increase revenue through flexible rate management tools and centralized reservation management, and by providing clear insights into business performance.
  • Improve the guest experience through guest engagement tools like automated communications, and by streamlining the operational side of your business so that you have more time to focus on your guests.

Important PMS Capabilities

Hotel operations evolve with time, technology and disruptions like the current pandemic. It’s important to find a future-proof system that can evolve with your business. Look for a proven, innovative solution with the following important capabilities:

>> Scalability

As your business expands, or as economic challenges outside your control arise (like COVID-19), your PMS should be able to scale up to support your business’s growth and evolution—and scale down for cost efficiency if operations must be reduced. Whether you plan to add rooms, open a new location or offer new activities down the track, choose a flexible and scalable PMS that can support your business goals now and in the future.

>> Mobility

COVID-19 has fast-tracked the need for contactless check-in and guest communication capabilities and there will be no going back. Make sure your PMS offers either inbuilt functionality or direct integration with third-party providers to achieve this. A mobile-friendly PMS that is easy to use on a mobile device is also important, allowing lodging operators to oversee operations from off-site and liberating staff from the front desk.

>>Third-party Software Integration

From payment gateways and electronic door locks to revenue management systems and OTAs, a hotel’s daily operation relies on multiple technical systems. With the PMS at the core, integrating your other hotel systems with your PMS improves workflow and data accuracy by automating the transfer of relevant data between systems so that you don’t have to do it manually. System integration is key to maximizing efficiency, inspiring innovation and remaining competitive. Look for a well-connected PMS that works with (or is willing to work with) your preferred solution providers.

>> User-friendliness

The purpose of a property management system is to make running your business easier (and more profitable). A PMS promises to improve operational efficiency and to do that it must be easy to use, despite the depth and breadth of functionality modern PMS deliver. Look for an intuitive, easy-to-learn system that will make daily tasks quick and easy, whether moving a reservation, checking a guest in, overriding availability or generating reports.

>> Flexible Rate and Inventory Management

Look for a PMS that provides the level of flexibility you need to sell your rooms the way you want. In addition to standard rates, your PMS should make it easy to create packages and discounts, and apply rate restrictions. Your system should also allow you to easily and instantly override rates, restrictions and availability across all applicable channels.

>> Integrated Website Booking Engine

Make sure you’re equipped to accept direct bookings 24/7 with a commission-free online booking engine for your property’s website that is fully integrated with your PMS for live availability and rates. A user-friendly online booking engine is key to maximizing revenue and meeting the expectations of today’s travel consumers. Look for a customizable, mobile-friendly solution that accommodates packages, add-ons, special rates, and multiple currencies too.

>>Channel Management

If your property sells inventory via GDS and OTA channels, choose a PMS that offers two-way integration with those channels (or a channel manager) so that you can manage inventory across all channels directly through your PMS. Integrating third-party distribution channels with the PMS saves significant time and reduces overbooking by automatically synchronizing rates and availability across channels, and sending reservations from third-party channels straight to the PMS.

>> Comprehensive Reporting

Modern PMS track data across operations in real time, giving lodging operators a clear picture of performance. Look for a PMS that supports your business’s reporting needs, from booking and occupancy reports to financial KPIs. You want a system that generates both standard and custom reports, and can easily export reports in a standard format.

>> Guest Engagement Tools

In our contactless new world, personalized guest experiences are more important than ever. From guest profiles and automated communications to contactless check-in and direct integrations with dedicated guest engagement platforms, today’s PMS solutions should enable you to record guest preferences, easily identify returning customers, and personalize communications to strengthen the guest relationship.

>> Housekeeping Report

Supporting your housekeeping department with the right tools to work productively is key to running a cost-efficient business and to maintaining guest satisfaction—especially now as cleaning and sanitization measures are under the spotlight. It’s important to find a PMS that offers a powerful, integrated housekeeping report that keeps track of room status in real time and makes organizing and tracking housekeeping responsibilities easy, from assigning housekeeping zones and updating room status to recording and tracking guest requests and maintenance alarms. Look for a PMS that offers a mobile housekeeping app so that housekeepers can access and update their schedule on the go, improving productivity (and saving paper).

>> Government Compliance

Before purchasing a new PMS, make sure it can comply with your local tax reporting requirements and billing regulations. This is especially important to confirm if the software is not already being used by other properties located in your area.

>> Robust Security

Lodging operators must take care to ensure guest data is secure, so finding a PMS that complies with current security requirements is critical. Ask about two-factor authentication, PCI compliance for credit card processing, EMV compliance, and data server security and back-up.

>> Reliability & Support

When it comes to core operational systems, reliability is crucial for efficient daily operation. You need to know that you can count on your property management system. Look for a solution with a history of reliably serving operations like yours and a track record of evolution. Do they have a solid and growing customer base?

Choose a PMS provider that demonstrates strong commitment to customer support. From training and ongoing live support to online training resources and product development, look for a responsive customer support team that will always have your back. Is training and support included? Do the contact hours work for you? What are response times like?

Read product reviews to get an idea of how real-life lodging operators feel about the system. Plenty of positive reviews are a good indication of a reliable, well-supported solution.

Choosing a new property management system is an important decision. It’s not an easy task, but finding a solution that checks all the above boxes is worth the effort.  For helpful tools to guide your search, take a look at Hotel Tech Report’s free Buyer’s Guide.